|Training Manual in Combatting Childhood Communicable Diseases Part I (Peace Corps, 1985, 579 pages)|
|Module 2: Primary health care|
|Session 8: Factors affecting health|
Mrs. X is sitting in the village by the well complaining about the terrible state of her child (who is on her back). Other women are consoling her about the probable death of the child. The doctor arrives for his monthly visit to the village. The traditional healer arrives to get water at the well and hears the woman complaining. The PCV also arrives to get water and hears the woman complaining. The doctor, the healer and the PCV each offer advice to the woman, trying to persuade her that their approach to health care is the one she should follow. The woman will decide which, if any, person's advice she will follow.
Your orientation is a Western bio-medical view of health care. You diagnose patients for physical problems and treat the problems. You maintain an objective and distant relationship with your patients, with no involvement in their personal lives. Your view is that you are the authority on who is sick and who is not. Illness to you is explainable in terms of biology. You provide the most modern treatment available. You give anti-malaria pills to children with fevers. You distrust traditional health practitioners and feel they should not be treating dehydration cases. You spend as little time as possible with your clients as you have many people to see. You feel that traditional healers should be prevented from practicing because they do more harm than good.
Your orientation is traditional medicine. You are part of the community of people who you serve. You feel that health and Illness are caused by social and spiritual forces as well as physical conditions. You recognize that there are some kinds of Illnesses that you cannot treat and you send them to the clinic, somewhat reluctantly, because people in the clinic treat you and your clients disrespectfully. You have a great deal of knowledge of local herbs, treatments for Illness including malaria. Your treatment for malaria is a herbal drink. You are a friend to your clients as well as a neighbor. You are always available to help them as long as they want. You are highly respected in the community.
You have a very sick child. The child has a fever for several days and is very sick. It is not passing urine, has no tears and is very hot. You have been withholding liquids and foods so it could get rid of the fever. The doctor is visiting the community to see who has health problems; the traditional healer is in the community as is the Peace Corps Volunteer. You must decide what type of health care to use to make your child well, or decide that there is no hope for your child to survive.
Peace Corps Volunteer
You have recently arrived in the community. You have just completed a Peace Corps training on malaria and you are eager to share what you have learned with the community because you know that malaria is a serious problem there. You know both the doctor who visits the village monthly and the traditional healer who lives in the village. You are concerned about the differences in their perspectives about health since you have to work with both of them. You are looking for ways to resolve some of these differences without making either or both angry with you. You see the fever as a situation where you may make some progress in resolving differences.